In the response, we highlight:
- The crucial role that schools play in promoting children's health, social, and mental wellbeing, offering various programs such as health screening, immunisation, physical education, mental health and emotional well-being programs, therapy, nutrition, and more.
- Schools are vital for safeguarding practices as they can identify concerns about a child's well-being or safety and provide regular contact with external professionals.
- A call to adopt a consistent child identifier, such as the NHS number, to improve information sharing between health, social care, and education services, enabling better support for children re-entering education.
- A call to rewrite the statutory guidance on supporting pupils with medical conditions, in collaboration with young people, health, education professionals, and safeguarding partners.
- We suggest clear guidance for non-education professionals, outlining thresholds for reporting and the correct process for raising concerns about school-age children not attending school.
The RCPCH strongly supports the work being carried out to identify and assist children missing from education. This particular group are likely to have a diverse range of needs, and we support a multi-professional approach which ensures every child can have their unique needs met.